The pandemic – looking for an upside (September 2020) – by Adrian Lunney –
So much of the broad sweep of the current pandemic seems so devastating, nonsensical and incredible to the mind that it can be easy to overlook the limited number of positive developments found on the ‘side of the road’ so to speak. There is no doubt that COVID-19 is giving the global economy a relentless and destructive battering. Some industries are suffering more than most and some niche sectors may never recover – certainly not short term. Some of the side benefits of the pandemic, however, have been illuminated in interesting ways. The ‘stripping down’ of all world economies to their basic essentials has forced a new look at some typical activities and costs. For example, take something that might have been described until now as ‘the cost of doing business’. This obviously includes all hospitality, entertainment and social factors. However, these costs might also include: The time and cost spent travelling to work, to attending and showing at exhibitions and conferences, visits to customer factories and sites, to other business and trade gatherings, networkings and for in-company meetings – locally, in-house and internationally.
In its peculiar way COVID-19 has brought all of activities to a sudden halt. And when the company accountant tots up all the savings from not doing any these things – then those savings are not insignificant. On the flip side, the working from home phenomenon has delivered some comforts for people. However, many other problems have arisen. These are typically system-based. Sales people for large organziations, for example, have never been worked harder – not only by their customers (all online now) but also by their own company systems – or lack of them. In many cases – and operating in an online-only environment – sales people and order fulfilment people are spending as much time with each other as with the customer – trying to commuicate effectively and trying to regularly debug the CRM systems that are meant to help. This process has not been easy but there are many lessons to be learned in this area that will hopefully outlive the COVID-19 crisis.
Finally, the power of the internet and of tools such as Zoom, Teams, Facebook, has been shown to be all-important. This is part of the reason why the WITTMANN Group is able to continue its ‘show and tell’ programme of technology innovation without skipping a beat. This year WITTMANN will not travel to exhibit at the postponed Fakuma exhibition in Southern Germany. Instead, all the new WITTMANN technology will be shown online and via special video presentations. Potential show visitors and customers will also be able to save time, cost and effort by viewing the new products and presentations online.
I suppose – given the severity of the pandemic problem – we should count any positives that have come our way. And as and when a ‘new normal’ resumes, we shall hopefully be better equipped to create better business together.
Initial details of the Fakuma 2020 presentations are here:
Peripherals and Automation